A burglar who knocked over a tin of white paint during a break-in left painted footsteps leading all the way to his front door. Officers followed the printed marks and arrested Andrew Mark Connor, 27, at Vincent Street, Easington Colliery, County Durham.
Peterlee magistrates were told that police responded to a report of a break-in at a second-hand shop in Easington Colliery, at the junction of Seaside Lane and Vincent Street.
A small number of items had been stolen from the premises, but police had one potential, and very obvious, lead.
During the break-in the intruder had knocked over a tin of white paint and had unwittingly left a trail of footprint impressions on the pavement outside the shop.
The first officer on the scene followed the trail down Vincent Street to a house, when he found the stolen property in the rear yard.
After checking the suspect’s footwear Connor was then arrested for burglary, less than 30 minutes from the time of the first call to police.
When he appeared before magistrates last week he pleaded guilty to burglary and was handed a community rehabilitation order and instructed to pay £100 compensation to the owners.
Detective Constable Darren Cresswell said: “Some offences of burglary are more challenging to solve than others, in this case the offender really put his foot in it and left some very obvious clues.
His house was only a short distance from the shop and the footwear impressions led us easily to where he had hidden the stolen property.”